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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Fitties



Please disregard the 1970s collars flapping like jibsails in the breeze. This is hardcore 1950s. The Flamingos have to eat, and this is their only real ticket. This song is from an era before mine, of course, but so what? So is Toccata and Fugue in D Minor. If I had to pick one piece of music to explain to a Martian what the 1950s were, that would be it. The music is barbarous compared to the big band music it killed, but it's light years more sophisticated than the rock music that pounded it flat in its turn.

It's nighttime. You are on the road. It is sultry warm. The music is coming over a small speaker via a dashboard AM radio, and is mixed in a bizarre fashion to punch through the skinny bandwith. There is chrome and spending money and booze and cigs and a woman in a real dress or a man in a suit, maybe. Lipstick is red or coral pink. Guitars are gold or turquoise. Amplifiers are tweed, like Bertie Wooster's traveling suit. You burn gasoline by the pail and drive around for the sheer joy of being abroad in the world.

The neon winks at you and you pull in and the harsh light shines on the formica tables with the Sputnik patterns printed on them. You don't go in right away. The Flamingos are still singing.

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